Thursday, Aug. 20

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – The city has created a comprehensive risk assessment to set corona virus site safety plans for city arenas as skaters return to the ice. All you have to do is follow signage and introduce yourself to the arena ambassadors to help guide you through the building safely. Watch this video for more information and visit https://bit.ly/3g9NbhJ for Fall/Winter arena programming.

AT FIRST IT LOOKED like great news – BC Ferries announced it was adding 769 sailings. On closer reading it turned out to be only on its minor and northern routes, with the new schedule matching pre-virus service levels effective Sept. 8, through to March 31, 2021. 

CORONA VIRUS CASES – The Corona Virus Testing Call Centre is busier than ever with the rise of cases across the province – wait times up to 60 to 90 minutes to speak to a nurse or clerk during peak hours such as mornings. On top of the increased cases, technical difficulties are exacerbating wait times. The average wait time for a test on Vancouver Island is two days, but getting assessed through the health authority’s call centre might require some patience. The Island Health Testing Call Centre is available for people who have symptoms but do not have a primary care provider (a doctor). MORE

 ENFORCEMENT PLANNED – Health Minister Adrian Dix says enforcement measures will come into effect later this week for behaviour that could lead to the transmission of Corona virus. He said the government is discussing enforcement measures and penalties that would come into effect later this week. The announcement is expected to be made by Solicitor General Mike Farnworth. “We are continuing to see what can be done about those [private parties],” he said. Ministries are mapping out increased enforcement, which could involve police officers, bylaw officers, health authorities and WorkSafeBC. He said that this past weekend, Lower Mainland health authorities visited 128 banquet halls over concerns of too many people present, with six raising red flags. MORE

 SEX OFFENDER JAILED – Sixty-three-year-old Willliam Herbert Erich Kreibom has been sentenced to 18 months is jail after pleading guilty to possessing child pornography, involving 8,300 images and videos. The images and videos found during a raid of his home by Nanaimo RCMP were described as extremely aggravating by judge Karen Whonnock. As well as the jail term, Kreibom has numerous conditions including being registered as a sex offender for 20 years following his release from prison. MORE

IN PASSING – This week marks 100 years since American women were granted the right to vote. 

  • Pandemic created big opportunity for PM

    The media fawning is conspicuous and dripping in syrup. A “wounded prime minister”? There is no bravery in self-inflicted wounds when they are unintended and due to ethical lapses.

  • PM denies people's right to investigate him

    0819b - It might be the dog days of Summer and hot outside. But where it is the hottest is the ‘air’ surrounding Justin Trudeau, our law-breaking Prime Minister.

Sturday, Aug. 22

Shortage of health workers has British Columbians with disabilities struggling
Families and advocates alike are speaking up about an alarming shortage of health-care workers that typically help many British Columbians live at home with their loved ones despite serious disabilities. 

Teacher wants province to consider Calgary's back-to-school model
While there are variations in the back-to-school plans announced by Metro Vancouver districts this week, none are offering the option of online learning through a child’s school, something many parents want in September. 

St. Paul's Hospital worker speaks out after violent incidents
A St. Paul’s Hospital social worker is speaking out about what he calls an unsafe working environment after he says he reported a variety of disturbing incidents to hospital management and WorkSafeBC, but says not enough was done. 

B.C. wildfires: Shift in wind could increase danger of blaze near Penticton
Firefighters in British Columbia's southern Okanagan are bracing for a change in wind and weather that has the potential to drive a huge wildfire north toward the outskirts of Penticton. 

Craigslist post for B.C. rental full of illegal demands, advocates say
A listing for a B.C. rental home that encourages prospective tenants to "piss off" if they object to a laundry list of rules and requirements goes too far, according to housing advocates. 

Wednesday, Aug. 19

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – Is it art if it doesn’t stir public reaction? A mural downtown has been raising eyebrows, with some residents complaining to city council about it. The mural, at 95 Cavan Street, has been accused of being pornographic, promoting drug use, and inappropriate for public viewing. It’s part of the Hub City Walls Festival to paint murals in downtown Nanaimo. Russ Morland’s mural features a Sasquatch-type creature holding a wizard’s staff. Hub City Walls posted about it on their Facebook page and hundreds of people responded they will also email the city about how much they like it. And yes, it will remain in its current location.

ISLAND VIRUS CASES –The Central Vancouver Island region added two new carona virus cases since last week for a total of 40. The region includes Tofino, Port Alberni, Nanaimo, Parksville, Lake Cowichan and Duncan. The most recent case in the Central Island was found 11 days ago. No one is in hospital with the virus in the Island Health region Tuesday, according to the latest data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control. Of the 154 cases of COVID-19 recorded by Island Health, five people (three per cent) have died of the virus in the Island Health region. Health authorities have administered 44,869 COVID-19 tests in the Vancouver Island region since the pandemic began. MORE

COUGAR DANGER – Don’t go wandering around in the rural areas of Qualicum Beach unless you want a close encounter with a pair of cougars. The pair are believed responsible for killing a pony north of Qualicum Beach. B.C. Conservation Officer Troy Sterling said it appears to be a female and her older kitten. Capture methods have been put out reports and sightings are being monitored so that if they’re seen again the hounds again can be put out again. In an unrelated incident, an emaciated cougar was destroyed after it killed a dog near Horne Lake this past weekend. MORE

IT DOES NOT SEEM to matter how often people are warned, they still post nude photos of themselves on the internet. Both men and women in Surrey are being targeted by online extortionists who threaten to share naked images of them. RCMP said some of the victims were initially contacted through dating apps or social media, and shared nude images and videos willingly because they believed they were engaged in a mutual relationship. Other extortion victims received emails claiming someone had hacked their computer and stolen nude images. Cpl. Joanie Sidhu of the Surrey RCMP advises, don’t send money. "In the cases we looked into, there was no validity to the claims," she adds. MORE

ADVANCE WARNING – If you’re an American living abroad you’d better be ready for massive tax increases if Joe Biden wins the November election, warns Moodys Tax Service. The company inform U.S. ex-pats living elsewhere of the impact of a change in presidency. Moodys says many expats are jumping ship to renounce their U.S. citizenship to avoid the tax increases. The staggering difference in a Trump vs. Biden tax plan has caused economic uncertainty for millions of expats. Thousands are turning to renunciation for a complete solution to the problem, before it’s too late. CHECK THEIR SITE

HAVE A GREAT DAY – If there is such a thing are normal, that’s what we’re in for today. The temperature is expected to go to about 23 degrees with scattered sun and cloud. And the wildfire on Mount Benson, which was likely sparked by the weekend lightning is under control.

Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – B.C. had 236 new cases of corona virus over the three-day reporting period since Friday. Four of them are in the Island Health region, bringing the total number since the start of the pandemic to 154. Six cases are active on Vancouver Island, all recovering at home. MORE

CRISIS FUNDING – The province is extending the provincial temporary crisis supplement for an additional four months for people on income or disability assistance amid the corona virus pandemic. This will also extend to low-income seniors. The Province announced the COVID-19 Crisis Supplement – which has been provided since April – will be extended for an additional four months for anyone not receiving federal benefits like the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). You don’t have to do anything, it will be automatically attached for people receiving this supplement.

WHILE SCHOOLS ARE trying to find solutions to return to learning, Spotlight Academy will continue online from September to December. The industry has begun filming again and actors are actively auditioning. Living in unprecedented times has changed the way that we do things but one thing that hasn’t changed is the need to create. Acting is an art form and art is a righteous truth, says Splotlight’s Jacqui Kaese. Students are now joining us from all over the continent for Spotlight acting classes for all ages, all levels. FULL DETAILS

NANAIMO ARTS AND CULTURE goups looking a some extra bucks got good news on Monday with the creation of a $2-million infrastructure program designed to improve and enhance existing arts and culture spaces. The Arts Infrastructure Program allows eligible organizations to get up to $75,000 to improve existing spaces and up to $40,000 to purchase special equipment. Tourism, arts and culture Lisa Beare said the new fund is designed to provide crucial support to a section that has been deeply impacted by COVID-19. MORE

HAVE A GREAT DAY – the temperature is expected to continue moderating, with a high of 25 degrees today, with a slight chance of precipitation.

Hot, dry weather sparks numerous widfires

0817 – Lightning ignited a number of wildfires on Vancouver Island Sunday in the Coastal Fire region. Dorthe Jakobson, a fire information officer with the Coastal Fire Centre, says as of Monday morning, she is tracking 10 new wildfires in the Coastal Fire area.

The area encompasses approximately 16.5 million hectares, extending west of the highest point on the Coast Mountain range from the Canada-U.S. border at Manning Park to the northern border of South Tweedsmuir Provincial Park. Including the Lower Mainland, Sunshine Coast, Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and Haida Gwaii.

All the have been small. She also said there are areas of southern Vancouver Island with a higher fire danger, with some extreme spots around Victoria. MORE DETAILS

Monday, Aug. 17, 2020

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – You’ve just gotta love that global warming. It’s coming down to a cool 27 degrees today. Enjoy it while you can, it never lasts.

THE DREAMERS on city council are operating on full energy these days with a campaign to reimagine Nanaimo. What ever happened to the ideas Fred Pattje and his cohorts came up with a decide or so ago to “Imagine Nanaimo”? Now we’re going to do it all over again? 

It sure looks more like social engineering to achieve the Utopian dream. They tell us the new version is our opportunity to create a collective vision and map for our future City. As our population grows to 100,000 and beyond, we need to collectively imagine how our spaces and places evolve to better meet the needs of our natural environment and of all who live here.

Our community plans will be built with ideas from individuals, groups, and organizations through their participation in the exercise, says a news release. To be successful, we need voices from across our community to share in the conversation. A key aim of this process is to be accessible to everyone – regardless of your age, your time constraints, or your knowledge base – it's easy to be part of building our community vision, says the news release.

And then we can all burst forth in a chorus of Kum Bah Yah.

IN PASSING – It used to be when you had a different view you were labelled a bigot. Now almost any opinion that doesn’t jibe with the politically-convenient view is that you are racist.

Sunday, Aug 16

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – It’s going to be another hot one today with temperatures as high as 33 degrees. The UV index for today is 8, classified as “very high” so make sure you protect yourself and slather on the tanning loation.

THERE ARE STILL SOME good people left in our society. A Qualicum Beach woman lost her wedding ring in Nanaimo, resigning herself to never seeing it again. But a woman who found the ring tried various ways of finding the owner, and finally connected with the RCMP. Voila, a connection was made. “Such a feel-good story for our city and nice to know there are a lot of good people out there,” said Const. Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

WHAT’S GOING ON HERE? We continue to get daily reports of airline flights with suspected corona virus infected passengers What’s the level of security at our airports? And why are there international flights with suspected cases on board?

Saturday, Aug 15

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – It’s going to be a hot one with temperatures as high as 30 today through Sunday. It will be nothing but sunshine today with a 40 per cent chance of precipitation late Sunday.

 The Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce Members open golf tournament tees off next Thursday with 84 golfers and a whole bunch of specialty holes like longest drive, and closest to the pin. The chamber says enthusiastic support has already made the event a success. Thanks to Robbins and Company Chartered Professional AccountantsMid Island LiquorRoyal Bank of Canada, and Communication Connection, and hole sponsors, donors, and volunteers. Those who have registered will soon get an email with more details. 

CURVING UPWARD –  new corona virus cases in B.C. continued to rise with 84 new cases reported Friday, notably among young adults, age 20-40. Provincial health officials are warning of greater enforcement of distancing rules, including shutting down businesses that do not follow those rules. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gave an update featuring a breakdown of past cases by age groupMORE

  • Border shutdown extended until Sept. 21

    0814 – The border closure between Canada and the United States will remain ihas been extended for one more month. The border shutdown, which has halted non-essential travel between the two countries for the majority of the pandemic, will now be extended until Sept. 21.

  • Parents, teachers protest back to school

    0814 – Parents and teachers marched to B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix’s office in East Vancouver Thursday afternoon to protest the school restart plan. Despite the minister’s office being closed, about a dozen people participated in the demonstration.

  • Renters will have to start paying Sept. 1

    0814 – The province reminds renters about a framework set up earlier in the pandemic: they'll soon be expected to pay up. As of Sept. 1, tenants will be required to pay their rent in full, as B.C.'s moratorium on evictions expires mid-month. For now, landlords cannot increase tenants' rent, but the provincial prohibition on increases ends in December.

Friday, Aug. 14

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – We’re heading into a scorcher weekend with temperatures as high at 28 today through Sunday. It will be nothing but sunshine today and Saturday with a 40 per cent chance of precipitation on Sunday.

THE UPWARD TREND of new corona virus cases in B.C. continued with 78 new cases were reported. There’s a significant jump in the number of cases of people aged 20 to 40. There were no new cases in the Island Health region. The number of active cases rose to 578, with three in the Island Health region recovering at home. As of Thursday, 4,274 positive COVID-19 tests had been recorded in British Columbia since the start of the pandemic with 150 in Island Health. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gave an update featuring a breakdown of past cases by age groupMORE

NEW OPPORTUNITY – When the challenges become daunting you look for other opportunities. RDN director and Nanaimo councillor Erin Hemmens sees opportunity in them thar hills. The RDN board backed her call for a report on mountain biking as both an economic and cultural driver. She said focused efforts have transformed the economies in areas such as Squamish and Cumberland. And the regional district already has some structure to do this with the Doumont shared-use agreement. Mountain biking has exploded in popularity in the last five years, she said.

RCMP ARE ASKING ANYONE who witnessed or has dashcam video of an assault in which a man suffered head and face injuries after being attacked from behind in north Nanaimo 11:30 a.m. on Monday. The victim was walking to the Superstore gas station when he was struck from behind. He does not remember the incident well and could not identify his attacker nor provide a description. He suffered fractured facial bones and a concussion. You can give information confidentially through Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com, text 274637 with keyword Nanaimo, or call 1-800-222-8477, or call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-734-2345. MORE

THE BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB has been hit again by vandals – vehicles have been damaged. The windshield of a Boys and Girls club bus was recently damaged by a BB-gun, one of four vehicles hit. executive director Karen Love says it’s disappointing and tough when you have to tell the parents when they drop their kids off, that the plans have changed for that day. And not only that, it’s costing a lot of hard-earned funds. Earlier damage to windows at their Bowen Road site has been repaired. See Boys & Girls Clubs of Vancouver Island.

THE CROWN IS SEEKING a one-year jail term with 18 months probation and a DNA order for the sex offender’s registry during sentencing arguments for a Nanaimo man who pleaded guilty to possessing child porn. Court heard 63-year-old William Kreibom had child porn on his cell phone, computer and USB drive. Of the 8,100 pictures and videos on his USB drive, more than 90 per cent were child porn. The investigation began after the National Center of Exploited and Missing Children in the U.S. alerted Canadian authorities to child porn being stored and uploaded by Canadian IP addresses. Further investigation linked them back to Nanaimo. Kreibom has no criminal record. His lawyer Brian Sutton is asking for the same terms but a six-month jail sentence. MORE

Thursday, Aug. 13

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – There's a a small chance of rain this morning but we'll have a lovely day after that with sunshine and a high of 20 degrees.

It’s back to school – Sept. 10 is the date when school will resume. Education minister Rob Fleming said the new date allows for orientation sessions so staff  can identify how updated health guidelines will work in individual schools. Students will be assigned to their learning groups upon their return to work through new routines and develop new habits under a corona learning era.

Tracking down the carriers –The province will hire up to 500 new contact tracers amid the corona virus pandemic. Premier John Horgan said while he lauds the work of the federal government in developing a tracing app, nothing replaces personal contact. Horgan, and Dr. Bonnie Henry explained that public health teams usually follow up on the close connections of people who have tested positive for the virus, but more resources are. The  new contact tracing jobs will be temporary, starting in September and will be recruited from health backgrounds. MORE

Another hurdle – The Wisteria Community Association has a long history of butting heads with rules and regulations in their charity efforts. The Stone Soup charity which feeds hungry downtown, has been raising funds by operating a recycling program, but it has outgrown their yard. The City has issued notice that the property may not be used as a refund container recycling depot. Tanya Hiltz, president of the group, said the money raised from the recycling goes to Stone Soup. Dave LaBerge, manager of community safety for the city said there are mass donations of bottles, clothing, and more, so the whole backyard at times is filled and they’re sorting it and making noise and there’s smell, and neighbours are not thrilled. MORE

No matter how often people are warned about the dangers of internet dating sites, some people don’t get the message until it’s too late. Oceanside RCMP report two residents were victims of online scams totalling $85,000. A 55-year-old woman was victimized for $55,000 and a 68-year-old man lost $30,000, to people they met through online dating. Neither victim had met their scammer in person and when they did ask to meet, the individuals vanished. Police say the crimes were hard and expensive lessons to endure. MORE

CoWork Nanaimo is a newly-incorporated company taking the place of Network Hub Nanaimo. The Network Hub has served about 2,000 customers over the past five years with coworking spaces in multiple locations, including Vancouver, New Westminster and Richmond. Angie Barnard says the change comes after deciding to become an independent coworking brand providing business support services. 

Corona virus cases soar by 85 in past 24 hours

0812 – There have been 85 more cases of corona virus in British Columbia over the last 24 hours, the largest single-day increase the province has seen since April. The majority of cases are linked to young people in the Lower Mainland, with exposure coming from "events in the community".

One person has died from the virus in the last day, the first death in the last 11 days, bringing the provincial death toll to 196. There are 531 active cases in the province, including eight who are hospitalized, five are in intensive care. 

Wednesday, Aug. 12

SCHOOL START IN LIMBO - The start of the school year in British Columbia is being pushed back from Sept. 8. Education Minister Rob Fleming said children will be welcomed back to class later in the second week of September after staff reviewed the latest BC Centre for Disease Control guidelines and school operation policies for corona virus.Staging the restart in some manner that would have staff teams together for a couple days before we gradually welcome kids back to make sure that every school – all 1,500 of them in the province – are truly ready to welcome students is a good idea, and that’s the approach that we’ll be taking, he said. No official date has been set for children to return to schools. MORE

CONGRATULATIONS to Aimee Falkenberg of Nanaimo for being chosen named to this year’s Visionary Award, by The Canadian Forensic Nurses Association, honouring her work caring for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. Aimee has co-ordinated forensic nurse examination services on the central Island since 2016 and helped to increase access to care by 130 per cent in that time. MORE

MILLION-DOLLAR WISH - Debra Allen’s first thought after winning a million bucks on Lotto Max was to order a ‘supersonic’ hair dryer. She was one of two ticket holders in B.C. for the  ‘Maxmillion’ prizes in the July 28 Lotto Max draw. Debra bought her ticket at Super Save Gas on Bowen Road. With travel restrictions in place due to the pandemic, she will put the bulk of her winnings into savings for her retirement. She’s been looking at RVs as camping on Vancouver Island is a favourite pastime. MORE 

NANAIMO REGIONAL DISTRICT has moved to a new emergency and information alert system – the Voyent Alert system, already used by the City,Parksville and Qualicum Beach. They system can alert residents via an app, text message, voice call or e-mail in case of emergencies such as extreme weather or wildfires. Residents can also opt to keep tabs on “day-to-day communications such as … public notices for recreation and parks alerts, watermain flushing and more,” the release noted. MORE

MODERN JUSTICE – A woman who punched an RCMP officer in the face escaped jail time after a judge gave her a conditional discharge and 12 months probation. Lauren Marie Brindisi, 20, agreed to a statement of facts that admitted she punched the officer while he was arresting a friend of hers for a separate alleged assault. Court was told she was on probation at the time for a previous offence, which had a condition to not possess or consume alcohol. MORE

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Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – We’re going to start off the day cloudy, but 23 degrees with sunshine by afternoon.

Reimagine Nanaimo sets out to do just as it says; to reimagine our city and how it will change, grow and move forward over the next ten years and beyond. The City wants you to participate in this chance to express your vision for Nanaimo's future in a range of visual media. Love to draw and paint? Have a dream for our city that is best expressed through dance or a colourful design, a collage or digital illustration? Reimagine Nanaimo we will post a new challenge for the next six weeks. (https://www.getinvolvednanaimo.ca/). FULL STORY.

Dr. Judith Sayers

Dr. Judith Sayers will be Vancouver Island University’s next chancellor. Sayers is President of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council – a non-profit society that provides a wide variety of services and supports to 14 nations with about 10,000 members. She has a business and a law degree, as well as an honorary Doctor of Laws, from Queen’s University. She practiced law for 18 years in both Alberta and British Columbia, working in international forums and lobbying governments and other agencies for the promotion and protection of First Nations rights and title. FULL STORY

Each July the B.C. Professional Fire Fighters Burn Fund hosts Burn Camp for young burn survivors age six to 18. Firefighters from Nanaimo and elsewhere volunteer as camp counsellors, but because of the pandemic this year the burn survivors and counsellors couldn’t hold camp in person, so Burn Camp was hosted virtually with fire departments creating and submitting videos to announce donations and send messages to the kids. Nanaimo Firefighters Charitable Society raised $2,500 from donations made to the society throughout the year during community events or training sessions with local service clubs and organizations. Nanaimo firefighters and young burn survivors amped up a donation presentation to not only make their film debuts, but win a people’s choice award. MORE

Dr. Bonnie Henry’s journey to becoming a household name in B.C. and across the rest of Canada began decades ago as the child of a military family. She was born in Fredericton when her father was posted to CFB Gagetown, but calls Charlottetown her hometown, because her father was a Major with the Lord Strathcona’s Horse, Canadian Army. She grew up in towns across Canada and abroad – from Charlottetown to Calgary to Saint John’s and even as far away as the Netherlands. But it was summer employment with the Naval Reserves as a Naval Warfare Officer, then known as a Naval Control of Shipping officer, that led her to B.C., and eventually to Provincial Health Officer for British Columbia managing COVID-19, the first woman to hold that position.  FULL STORY

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Monday, Aug. 10, 2020

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – The high today is forecast to reach 23 with sunshine.

THE SUMMER-LIKE WEATHER we enjoyed in July is set to make a comeback later this month.  This month started off cool, cloudy and showery, said Bobby Sekhon of Environment Canada. However the second half of the month is when a ridge of high pressure that brought sunny skies and hot weather will return. It was drier than normal last month, with 15.7 millimeters of rain, accounting for 62 per cent of July’s average amount of precipitation.

HIKE FOR HOSPICE – This is not an ordinary year for a lot of events and Nanaimo Hospice is no different. So instead of the normal hike people hike organizers want you to sign up individually or as families or teams to gather pledges for this fundraiser. Registrants are already out walking the waterfront, hiking the trails around Westwood Lake, kayaking, golfing and doing other physical activities of their choice around Nanaimo. Registration is open until Aug. 28. The virtual finish line will be held Sept. 12 and there will be three pick-up dates for hats, buffs and swag.

STUDENT HOUSING - The City’s design advisory panel is slated to review an application for a four-storey, 162-unit student housing project at 326 Wakesiah Avenue. City council passed third reading last fall re-zoning 326 and 308 Wakesiah Ave. and 307 Hillcrest Ave. into mixed-use corridor, with a site-specific land use supporting student housing. The proposed development is a modern, efficient student housing facility that will serve the Vancouver Island University’s urgent need for student accommodation,” wrote architect Xeniya Vins of WA Architecture Ltd. MORE

HALL OF SHAME – The low-life customer at a restaurant in the Interior caught on video screaming obscenities and berating staff for taking too long with his order.

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Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – Another fantastic day in Paradise - nothing but sunshine and a high this afternoon of about 20 degrees.

The Fresh Start back-to-school fundraiser is still happening this year - despite the virus pandemic but needy children will get new school supplies – but no free haircuts as in the past. Dave Lawrence, owner of That 50s Barber Shop  and organizer of the event says event, going into its sixth season, averages 120 kids needing haircuts and school supplies every year. This year, instead of having people come to the barber shop to pickup their supplies, organizers will be delivering the goods directly to students’ doors. To register, go to the Fresh Start: Back to School Facebook page and fill out the online application.

The Nanaimo River Road area has been a hotspot for vehicle crime of late. Police warn outdoor enthusiasts heading into the backcountry south of Nanaimo about a rash of thefts from vehicles. Nanaimo RCMP say that a dozen vehicles have been broken into in the past month. In many cases, the vehicles have been parked overnight while owners went camping in the bush. MORE

Lantzville and the Regional District hope to expand a trail network at Copley Ridge. The Lantzville Lookout Loop trail from Lantzville into Nanoose Bay is a real gem. Both councils supported the idea at meetings in July. Lantzville Mayor Mark Swain says the trail is well used, it’s got a beautiful outlook at the top and sweeping views. He’s consulted with RDN staff about legitimizing the trail through an agreement between the municipality, the regional district and forestry company Mosaic, which manages Crown land there. “We’ve got a world-class trail system that just needs to be linked up and put a little bit of care and attention into it and the tourism will be incredible,” said Coun. Will Geselbracht. MORE

Can you share your experience with MS to the point that you feel you can effectively support others? The MS Society wants to find volunteers who are living with MS or are caregivers of people with MS who can help with the society’s one-to-one peer support program. The telephone- and internet-based program is in need of volunteers 18 or older who have been diagnosed with MS or are a caregiver for someone living with MS. It’s a one-year minimum commitment. For more information, e-mail Julia.zougas@mssociety.ca.

HALL OF SHAME  – the landlord in Maple Ridge who removed all the windows and doors of a rental property when the single mother fell behind in her rent.

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Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – We’re in for a great day with sunshine by this afternoon and the mercury going up to about 21 degrees. That’s just over 70 degrees for oldtimers.

ONION WARNING from the United States – health officials report a growing salmonella outbreak that has sickened more than 200 people in Canada in recent weeks. A red onion outbreak from the U.S. affected 114 people in B.C., Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and P.E.I. That number has now grown to 239 confirmed cases in Canada, with 119 new cases since Aug. 2. Canadian onions appear to be safe but if you’re unsure of where an onion comes don’t eat it or any products made with it. 

WEIRD THINGS are happening – Mysterious packages of seeds are showing up in mailboxes across the country. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) says it has received reports from 750 people about the seeds from a range of species and have postmarks from differing countries, but they appear to be low-risk. The CFIA is collecting information on the packages, including info about the contents, the sender, return address (if any), postmark, and how the package was labelled. If you get one of the packages do not plant them and report it to their local Canadian Food Inspection Agency office.

MORE WEIRD STUFF – Asian giant hornets, known as murder hornets, were supposed to invade this summer, but so far there have been no confirmed sightings. There have been a lot of reports of sightings from across the province, but there has been nothing to confirm any hornets. The hornets don’t go after humans unless you disrupt their nest. But they do affect the honey bee population. The hornet has a large orange head, with a body the size of a human thumb and a wingspan of up to seven centimetres.

PLEASE HELP – Last week I told you about Lauren Bush who has a medical condition that comes with a hefty price tag. She has a panic disorder, OCD, and an eating disorder. She and her doctor found a clinic that will be able to help, the only of its kind in Canada, but it’s about $42,000, a lot more than she can afford. She has started a Go Fund Me page where you can read her personal appeal. After a quick start, financial support has slowed down. Your financial help would kick start the campaign. CLICK HERE to make a donation, large or small, you’ll feel good if you do. 

PASSING THOUGHT – Open-minded people make narrow-minded people nervous.

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Highest one-day coronavirus report since April

0808 – Coronavirus has the potential to rapidly burn out of control like a wildfire, health officials said Friday as the province recorded the biggest daily jump in new cases since April, 53 cases  in the previous 24 hours.

Friday's update from Dr. Bonnie Henry, said no more people have died of the virus since Thursday's update. The death toll remains at 195.

The update brings B.C.'s total caseload to 3,934 patients who've tested positive or are epidemiologically linked to test-positive cases since the start of the pandemic.

The latest cases bring a total of 293 confirmed cases since last Friday afternoon alone.

Friday, Aug. 7, 2020

Enough is enough – Neighbours of a nuisance house at 560 Milton St. are taking matters into their own hands and have begun clearing trees, bushes and encampments close to the known drug house. Police got 27 calls about the property since the start of 2020. It was declared a nuisance property by the City in July, which allows staff to charge the homeowner for services such as police resources. Manager of Community Safety Dave Laberge said the property is a tremendously busy drug house. Drug dealers moved in and then came a derelict RV that was parked in the backyard which then became a staging area for prostitution and more drug dealing. RCMP busted the house June 10 and arrested one of the occupants and seized an ounce of crystal meth, fentanyl and cash. MORE

Good news for marmots – Green Mountain has long been a refuge for endangered Vancouver Island marmots. It is so remote biologists fly in by helicopter to release marmots in the area. The fire on the mountain, likely sparked by lightning, is being controlled over the 16.9 hectares, which means it is unlikely to grow in forecasted conditions. Firefighters were struggling through nearly vertical terrain and cliffs to save the area where the marmots thrive. Adam Taylor of The Marmot Recovery Foundation, said there are a number of colonies along a ridgeline. The fear was that the wildfire could get out of control, spread through that ridgeline and impact a number of colonies. That doesn’t seem to be happening,” Taylor said. MORE

Transit coverup – Masks will be mandatory on Regional District of Nanaimo Transit buses beginning Aug. 24. Darren Marshall, acting RDN general manager of transportation and emergency services, said riders will need to wear a mask, bandanna or other face covering on buses as part of coronavirus safety measures. Masks will be mandatory but it will be an educational step without enforcement. Transit staff will be at platforms throughout the system providing a handout with a reusable mask and hand sanitizer and some information. MORE

And at Walmart too – Face masks will be mandatory for customers at Walmart across Canada beginning next week. Felicia Fefer, manager of corporate affairs for Walmart Canada said by Aug. 12 all customers and employees in any Walmart store must wear a mask, even if there is no government mandate to do so. Health Canada has identified that, when worn properly, a person wearing a mask/face covering can reduce the spread of his or her own infectious respiratory droplets, Fefer wrote. MORE

If you’ve got a dog, live up to the responsibility that goes with it. Mail carriers are reportin more than twice as many dog interactions so far this year, compared to all of last year. Kevin Shires, Nanaimo superintendent for Canada Post, told NanaimoNewsNOW more people are at home than usual and allowing dogs more access outside, leading to an increase in incidents with letter carriers. In many cases, carriers enter the front yard to deliver mail and are attacked by a dog coming around a corner. Usually if they see the dog out, they won’t deliver, it’s that simple. MORE

A month-long a golf tournament at Fairwinds will raise funds for the Nanaimo Hospital ICU campaign. The virus pandemic changed a lot of things, and the golf tournament is no different – you can golf throughout September to help finance the new Intensive Care Unit at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. The entry fee is $150 for a round of golf, and you can enter as often as you like at 150 bucks a pop. Spreading the tournament over the entire month allows even more people to golf while helping to raise funds for state-of-the-art medical equipment. Golf for Life has raised more $1 million since its inception and Fairwinds has been there since day one. The traditional wrap-up dinner cannot be tabled this year due to the pandemic, but Fairwinds is dedicating the whole month to raising funds for the Hospital Foundation by matching donations up to $10,000. FULL STORY

The Sandstone dream south of Nanaimo is rumbling to life again. The Vancouver company that owns Fairwinds at Nanoose hopes to go to public hearing this fall with a revised vision for the  726-acre site. Seacliff Properties intends to build Sandstone over 20 years. Investment will easily be “in the billions,” said Ian Porter of Seacliff. The new version includes a business park expected to generate 5,500 permanent jobs once the project is complete. Seacliff’s other Vancouver Island property is Royal Beach land in Colwood, where it plans a mixed-use development. MORE 

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Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020

Drug overdoses are spiking again in Nanaimo with opioids, stimulants and increased risk with smoking. Island Health issued an overdose advisory on Wednesday, warning of increased overdoses in the mid island region. The Authority advises if you see someone overdosing, call 911 immediately, administer rescue breathing and administer naloxone. Island Health urges users to visit the overdose prevention service site at 437 Wesley St. open daily from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. In addition, carry naloxone, have an overdose response plan and consult with doctors and health-care providers on ways to reduce the need to buy illicit substances without going through withdrawal. MORE

A reminder this is the weekend you can get rid of extra household good that are gathering dust or you can drive around looking for stuff others want to get rid of. Reuse Rendezvous, on Saturday and Sunday, gives old possessions a new lease on life and out of the landfill. Take unwanted toys, sporting goods, furniture, books, bikes and other items to the curb for others to take and reuse. All you have to do is mark items set out for others with a ‘free’ tag. Just don’t block sidewalks and bike lanes. Items not claimed must be removed by Monday. For more information, click here.

Airlines are not providing the details British Columbia needs on travellers to ease contact tracing to slow the spread of the corona virus. Concern about the detail airlines provide have been greatest in B.C., and the provincial health officer is ticked off at the lack of movement from federal officials. B.C. Transport Minister Claire Trevena, in a letter to federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau, said the information the province has received from airlines is not complete and is sometimes unusable. She asked the government to ensure the data gathered is usable and traces back to the individual traveller directly, rather than simply listing flights with a positive COVID-19 case. MORE

How serious is Victoria's homeless crisis? The homeless count and housing needs survey (PiT) found that at least 1,500 people are homeless in the region. The PiT survey, conducted in mid-March found that at least 1,523 people were homeless, including those entirely unsheltered, staying in emergency shelters, people who were couch surfing and those who were in transitional housing. The survey was conducted before local and provincial housing initiatives were launched amid the corona pandemic, which would have shifted numbers between unsheltered and provisionally sheltered individuals.

B.C. announces 47 more cases of corona virus

0806 – British Columbia reported 47 new cases of corona virus in the province as of Wednesday. Minister of Health Adrian Dix, and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry released the latest numbers on Wedesday.

B.C. has had 3,834 cases since the start of the pandemic. None of the new cases are in Island Health, which has had 146 cases since the pandemic began. Of those, 137 people have recovered and there have been five deaths. MORE

Ottawa details commercial fishery relief program

0806 – The federal government has announced details of a $469 million program aimed at helping Canada’s commercial fishery deal with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan said the Fish Harvester Benefit and Grant Program, which was announced in May, will be open for applications from Aug. 24 to Sept. 21. The program represents the single largest investment in Canada’s fisheries in nearly two decades. Detailed information about the application process for financial support is now available online from the Fisheries and Oceans Canada website. MORE

Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020

Now there’s an app for that – You just knew it had to come, private cannabis retailers will be allowed to sell products online and over the phone, but buyers still have to pick up in-store. Retailers can use apps and websites to collect payment information and charge customers. The province says concerns about transmitting corona virus brought about the change. Store employees will still verify identification and use an age-verification tool for online sales. Attorney General David Eby said the change comes as private retailers continue to follow provincial health mandates. He said it supports public health and safety by reducing the amount of time customers need to spend in stores and allows them to remain physically distanced from employees and each other. MORE

BC Ferries revenue is close to $700,000 a day lower than at the same time last year, but recent increases in ridership and the promise of federal financial support is offering hope. President and CEO Mark Collins says ridership is about 80 per cent of the same time last year. Costs have been trimmed by not offering as many sailings, and by not hiring seasonal summer staff. All staff, including casuals, are back and nobody is on layoff. MORE 

The number of active coronavirus cases jumped by 146 over the long weekend, including four which are considered epidemiologically linked and no longer active. Social events gatherings remain the main source of infection as health officials trace newly-confirmed cases. Island Health reported two new cases with four cases active on the Island. To date, 146 cases have been confirmed. 

Emergency extended – The provincial government has extended the provincial state of emergency until Aug 18, giving Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth extraordinary powers under the Emergency Program Act.  Premier John Horgan stated in a press release that British Columbians have been reminded in recent weeks that virus case counts can easily rise if we’re not careful. This is not the time to let our guard down, he said. B.C. can extend a state of emergency only two weeks at a time. MORE 

Dear John – Putting brain in gear before putting mouth in motion sounds like good advice for our Premier who is known to shoot from the lip. An Alberta man’s vehicle was vandalized while parked in Kamloops overnight. Terry Evans, of Emonton, says he was moving his daughter to Victoria and his truck was the only one in the lot with Alberta plates, (and a visible Edmonton Oilers sticker). Premier John Horgan suggested last week that people with out-of-province plates should ride a bicycle or public transit. Evans said Horgan's comment on out-of-province visitors reckless. "When the premier of British Columbia actually tells people from out of province to take a bike or ride a bus it's just arrogant and irresponsible, and quite frankly, idiotic," Evans said. MORE 

Passing thought – Common sense is like a deodorant, those who need it most seldom use it.

Evacuation alert for properties near Princeton

0805 – An evacuation alert has been issued for 43 properties near Highway 5A. The Tulameen and District Fire Department is asking people who use nearby lakes to give space to skimmer planes helping battle the fire. It described the fire as an interface fire, as it is burning near structures.  The 43 properties under evacuation alert are along Highway 5A between McCaffrey Lake, MacKenzie Lake, Dry Lake, Round Lake and Allison Provincial Park. MORE

Mount Washington road closed after cycling accident

 A serious cycling accident shut down the highway to Mount Washington Tuesday morning. A cyclist crashed when the brakes failed on the long and winding descent from the ski resort.  The road was closed so a B.C. Emergency Health Services helicopter could land and airlift the cyclist to a Victoria hospital. MORE

Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020

Good morning. It’s back to the regular grind for all those who have a grind to get back to. There are still an amazing number of people off the job due to the corona epidemic. A good long weekend also means very little news to report. The fire on Green Mountain is being contained with the arrival of the cooler weather.

I brought our readers’ attention yesterday to the situation of Lauren Bush who suffers with panic disorder, OCD, and an eating disorder. It has severely impacted her day-to-day life, she’s been in and out of hospital treating symptoms. After a long search she and her doctor found a clinic that can help, the only of its kind in Canada, and it comes with a steep price, approximately $42,000. You can read Lauren’s personal appeal on her donation page. With the long weekend and all, fewer people on social media, it’s been slow after a rousing start. By Tuesday morning, $1,335 had been pledged. CLICK HERE

Things are not always the way we see them at first glance. Comox Mayor Russ Arnott, says residents might be seeing out-of-province license plates that belong to military members recently posted to CFB Comox. He says this is the time of the year when recently-posted military members move into their new communities. While there’s concern over out-of-province plates, understand that these are new members of the community and may be under many stresses that come with being posted, says Arnott. The Department of National Defence also took to social media. “If you see an out-of-province license plate or some new faces please make them feel welcome.” Premier John Horgan recently suggested drivers with non-B.C. license plates consider taking a bicycle or public transit if they don’t want to be harassed. MORE

Passing thought – Have you ever looked at someone and knew the wheel was turning but the hamster was dead?

Fire crews continue to battle Green Mountain blaze

0803 – Fire fighters appear to be gaining the upper hand in a wildfire ion Green Mountain after it was held in size overnight at 15 hectares. 

Coastal Fire Centre’s Dorthe Jakobson, said there were 45 firefighters and four helicopters at the location Sunday. The fire was reported Friday afternoon and is thought to have been started during that morning’s thunderstorm. A second fire in the same area Saturday afternoon is under control.

Monday, Aug. 3, 2020

I don’t ordinarily promote funding appeals, but this one strikes close to home – Chris Bush’s daughter Lauren Bush has suffered with panic disorder, OCD, and an eating disorder called ARFID (Avoidant\Restrictive intake disorder). It has severely impacted her day-to-day life, she’s been in and out of hospital treating symptoms, injected with vitamin C, hooked up to IVs. and so on. She needs help. After a long search she and her doctor found a clinic that will be able to help. It’s the only of its kind in Canada, and it comes with a steep price, approximately $42,000. You can read her personal appeal on her donation page. By this morning more than 20 people had donated $1,335 of the total. CLICK HERE to join in, you’ll feel good if you do. 

It’s the biggest treasure hunt of the year – the city’s Reuse Rendezvous is coming up next weekend, August 8 and 9. It’s is a community event to reduce waste. Your participation helps keep usable goods out of the landfill. Here’s how you do it. Put your items on the curb in front of your house by Saturday morning and watch the traffic come by. Remove unwanted items by Monday, The City will not collect them. Search for treasures in your neighbourhood, or explore other areas of the city. MORE DETAILS

If you’re thinking of a quick jaunt down to Seattle, better put that idea on ice for a while. The Canada-U.S. land border remains closed to non-essential travel and it could stay that way for quite some time. The border closed on March 21 to non-essential traffic and remains shut until at least Aug. 21. Canadians can fly to the U.S. but Americans are not allowed to enter via any mode of transportation. Several experts predict the border won't reopen until sometime next year. The main reason is that corona virus cases are still surging in several U.S. states. Many Canadians have also made it clear that they want the border to stay shut for now. MORE

Passing thought – It’s not a conversation when one person does all the talking.

Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020

Bonnie’s Good Times Guide – If you wondered what’s next, the province has published an online guide which features tips including that those with even mild symptoms, like a runny nose or headache, should stay home. Don't pass around drinks, smokes, tokes and vapes, the guide says. "Now is not the time for sharing anything that's been in your mouth." And lastly, “hooking up? Do it safely," the guide says. Take a pass if your partner has COVID-19 symptoms. Use protection like condoms or dental dams to reduce transmission risks for COVID-19 and STIs."

Medical loading is assured. BC Ferries will continue to provide medical-assured loading on the first-available vessel for any person, vehicle and an escort, as part of the Province's continued pandemic response. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth updated ministerial orders under the Emergency Program Act. To use medical priority loading, you must have a doctor's letter indicating the required medical-assured loading at check-in, as well as a completed Travel Assistance Program (TAP) form. Ferries will also continue to give priority to vehicles carrying essential goods and supplies, and BC Ferries has to consult the Province before changing or varying minimum ferry service levels. 

Government House in Victoria will be closed for about a year as it undergoes $10.2 million in renovations. The work includes security upgrades, a new back-up generator, improved electrical and HVAC systems and refurbished the fire suppression system. The grounds will remain open, as will outlying buildings like the seasonal tea room. Lt. Gov. Janet Austin and her staff will work in one of the provincial government buildings in Victoria. The Government House building is the third one in the province's history. The previous two were destroyed by fire. The current building was opened in 1959. 

Who doesn’t love onions? Health officials warn Canadians of a salmonella outbreak that has been linked to red onions imported from the United States. Salmonella outbreaks have appeared from B.C. to Ontario. Restaurants and stores are also cautioned not to serve or sell food products that include U.S. red onions. Canadian red onions are safe to eat. As of Thursday, 114 people across Canada had contracted salmonella with 43 cases in B.C. believed to have occurred between mid-June and mid-July.

Heads up, commuters: Bowen Road will be reduced to single lane in either direction at Buttertubs Drive from Tuesday to August 18 for rehabilitation of bus bays. Temporary bus stops will be in place at the far end of each location.

Parting Thought - Claiming you are offended is essentially admitting that you are incapable of controlling and managing you own emotions so everyone else should do it for you.

B.C. air tanker at work. (file photo)

Green Mountain wildfire challenges fire crews

0802 – A wildfire on Green Mountain, southwest of Nanaimo, continues to challenge B.C. Wildfire crews. The fire was reported Friday afternoon.

The fire is believed to have started from a lightning strike during the thunder storm early Friday morning. It was estimated at eight hectares on Friday night and nine by Saturday morning. Air tankers, four helicopters, heavy equipment and crews are battling the blaze.

A second wildfire in the Green Mountain area was identified Saturday MORE.

Chief health officer warns virus is not going away soon

Dr. Richard Stanwick

0802 – Island residents need to continue to take the corona virus seriously because it isn’t going away anytime soon, says chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick.

The Island Health region has fared better than other places but we should not let our guard down, warns Stanwick. He talked to Stacy Ross on CHEK’s New Normal, about about students returning to class and the future as the pandemic continues.

One reason Island Health has done well with the pandemic is because it has had the benefit of learning from other health authority regions, such as Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health. MORE

Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020

Good morning, welcome to August. Everything is beautiful as the B.C. Day long weekend gets under way.

Nanaimo Seniors Village is no longer under management oversight after “outstanding areas of non-compliance have been addressed and criteria to transition management of the facility to the operator were satisfied. Improvements include better communication to residents, families and staff, staff increases, a revamped staffing model to ensure direct care delivery is in line with funding, additional care hours for residential care aides, a strengthened leadership team and a framework to ensure organizational policies are properly reviewed and implemented. MORE

We often hear questions about the value of a chamber of commerce. That value has been reinforced during this virtual shutdown of business due to the virus epidemic. One example has been the Chamber Marketplace which has been vital to supporting Nanaimo businesses. You can buy products and services that will directly benefit local business owners and support the recovery of our economy. This site also lets business owners sell online. Even if you’re already operating your own e-commerce site, the Chamber can amplify the reach with its advertising connections and high-traffic website. It's for everyone, you don’t have to be a member of the chamber of commerce, non-members can join Chamber Marketplace. Contact Carly Cooke at (250) 756-1191 ext. 4 or email memberservices@nanaimochamber.bc.ca

Register Bikes on 529 Garage. Many people are looking for fun activities that get them outside while still following provincial health recommendations.  Cycling is a great way to do this. Bike stores around Nanaimo are seeing an increase in sales and with more bikes on the trails and roads more opportunities for bike thieves. Some ways to protect your bike are so obvious we need reminders. Check them out HERE.

Indigenous tourism - The Vancouver Island Coastal Tourism Resiliency Program in partnership with go2HR is presenting an Indigenous Tourism Businesses Forum on August 11. Businesses in the arts, history and cultural attractions industry are invited to engage in a peer-to-peer discussion around key challenges facing their industry. You have to register to participate, contact 1-855-722-9036, or sign up HERE. If you’ve registered already contact your program advisor.

Passing thought Dieting is no piece of cake.